One of my favorite things to snack on while roasting a chicken is its liver or "fegato" in Italian. Incredibly inexpensive and rich in iron fegato is a true delicacy. Every once and a while I like to incorporate it into a dish with fresh tagliatelle pasta.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a first course):
-1 pound very fresh chicken livers
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/4 cup of whiskey or bourbon (red wine is fine too)
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-salt and pepper, to taste
-extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 pound fresh tagliatelle or other pasta
Carefully trim/cut away any sinew and connective tissue from the livers and cut into small pieces, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Heat a sautee pan over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter. When almost smoking add the livers and cook for about 1 minute, turning often until lightly browned but still pink in the middle. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Add the balsamic vinegar and lower the heat to medium. Stir well. Cook for 20-30 more seconds or until the livers are soft but medium-rare in the middle. Turn up the heat to high and deglaze with the whiskey or wine. If using the former tilt the pan toward the flame (or use a torch; this step is optional) and light the pan on fire. When the flames die down add the heavy cream and reduce until thickened, about 30-45 seconds.
Meanwhile drop your pasta into salted water and cook for 30-45 seconds (if using dry pasta you will need to start the process sooner). Using tongs remove the pasta and add to the pan with the livers. Turn the heat back to high and toss with the pasta for 20-30 seconds. Take it to the plate and grate a bit of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over each dish. Serve immediately.
James is a food writer and Bay Area chef who owns and runs a private dinner party and cooking class business specializing in regional Italian and Spanish cuisine. See CookWithJames.com